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Travis Demeritte to make Braves debut tonight

Coming off its first off day of the 2022 season, tonight the Braves enter a three-game, weekend series with the Marlins at home. And for those of us who follow the organization’s farm system, tonight’s projected starting lineup marks a return for a familiar player – outfielder Travis Demeritte.

As the tweet above shows, it’s been quite a while since Demeritte last played in the majors, with his most-recent stint coming back in 2020, when he played in 18 games with the Tigers. All in all, the 27-year-old has played in only 66 games during his now 10 seasons as a pro.

After being selected 30th overall by the Rangers back in 2013, Atlanta acquired Demeritte in a 2016 deal that sent pitchers Lucas Harrell and Dario Alvarez to Texas. The then-21-year-old Demeritte was a highly touted prospect at the time and, prior to the late-July trade in ’16, was coming off an 88-game performance with the Rangers High-A club that featured a .272 AVG, 25 home runs and 13 stolen bases (good for a 143 wRC+).

With the Braves in the process of contending for a second-straight season in 2019, and with Demeritte pretty much blocked from the majors, Atlanta traded the outfielder, as well as prospect pitcher Joey Wentz, to Detroit in exchange for stud reliever Shane Greene. With the Tigers in the midst of rebuilding, Demeritte instantly earned an opportunity to become a big league regular, in which he finished the second-half of the season in Detroit with a middling 66 wRC+ and three homers in 48 games. However the poor 2020 campaign mentioned above resulted in quite a short major league stint, as the Tigers DFA’d Demeritte in Ferbruary of 2021. But just a week later the Braves brought an old friend back when the team claimed him off waivers, and ever since, Demeritte has been tearing it up at the plate.

Since the start of the ’21 season, Demeritte has raked with Triple-A Gwinnett, and he entered this year having slashed .285/.370/.588 with 22 homers, 58 RBI and eight stolen bases in 81 games last season (good for a 146 wRC+). That strong hitting has continued in 2022 as well, as the veteran entered Friday with a .283 AVG and already 10 XBH (2 HR) in a dozen Triple-A games so far. Demeritte was recalled to Atlanta this past Thursday when the Braves placed star third baseman Austin Riley on the paternity list.

In tonight’s series opener versus Miami, Demeritte will start in right field and bat ninth, and we could see him get a few more appearances with the Braves as the team awaits Ronald Acuna Jr.’s return. Demeritte can swing it, for sure. Hopefully he enjoys his time in the majors, however long it may last. He certainly deserves it.

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